January isn't even over and I'm already about to throw in the towel on my New Year's resolutions. I know there's no way I'm going to keep half of them so I'm considering shifting gears.
One of my major resolutions was to lose weight. To accomplish my goal, I was supposed to start a strict regimen of healthier eating, more exercise and positive self-talk. It's not happening. My weight does an endless cha cha -- gain a couple, lose a couple, cha cha cha.
For a couple of weeks, I hit the gym at least four times a week. I was sweating up a storm and actually enjoying it until I came down with the flu, which snip my work out schedule in the bud. Now that I'm over it, I've lost the momentum that I had briefly to jump onto the treadmill and pump the weights.
I've now grown desperate, so I have a new strategy. I've resolved to gain weight. That's right; you heard it first here. I fantasized glomming down everything I want with no concern for its fat and calorie content -- devouring pizzas, cheeses and creamy, sugary desserts like the end of time is here. I might call it the Mayan Diet since the Mayans predicted the end of the world imminently and why should you care about your weight if that's the case.
The brilliance of this resolution is that it will actually help me lose weight in the end. As I said, most of my resolutions have a snow ball's chance in Jamaica at high noon of coming to fruition. So why should this be different. Of course, there's always a first time and I might be living on the edge with this strategy. But I'm willing to risk it. Stay tuned for the outcome.
My frustration about not losing weight to this point speaks to a deeper point: being too hard on yourself. You can beat yourself up every time you come up short of a goal or a desire. But what's the sense of throwing rocks at yourself? There are plenty of others who will be willing to do that.
Some psychologists claim that we become "tyrannized" by the big idea. In other words, you set goals that are lofty and often unattainable; so they're doomed to failure. To make matters worse, we beat up ourselves, if don't achieve the near impossible.
For example, at this stage of my life, I don't need to be as lean as a whippet. I view myself more as a sturdy working class dog -- an Australian sheep dog with a few extra pounds, but still cute and serviceable.
Nonetheless, I habitually pose challenging goals in whatever I do. Sure, it's good to shoot for the stars, but what are the chances of getting there? Another case in point: I start a new hobby, let's say golf, I want to shoot par faster than any other human that ever picked up a club. And who knows, I'm might just be a natural and end up on the Senior Tour, I think. Fat chance.
After three years of practicing diligently, I've made some positive strides. I'm a better than average golfer and even get off that miracle shot that seduces me into thinking that I still have much more potential to realize.
But the challenge is to improve to the extent of my goals, I need to spend a small fortune on lessons and golf CD's on how to improve my swing, quit my job and practice 12-14 hours daily, then, and only then, might I have a chance of improving that much. Or I can be satisfied with my slow, but steady progress.
Now, I could label myself as a failure, but a positive thinker might point out how far I've come; how much fun I've had and all the fellow great golfers I've met. That's all true, but those who are driven will tend to feel the pain and anguish of never sniffing par, and probably never will in my lifetime. The bottom line is don't toss out your New Year's resolutions just yet.
Resolutions involve change, and that takes time. January isn't over yet and I'm already tearing up my self-contract and feeling like a failure. Shame on me. I have the choice to see the lack of progress regarding my resolution to lose weight positively or negatively. True, I haven't lost an ounce, but I'm certainly trying to do something about it.
What's more, if I fall off the light-eating wagon by munching a bag of veggie sticks (my favorite junk food); it's a slip, not a catastrophe. I can readjust and opt not to buy them anymore.
Now is the time to dig in and reconfirm your resolutions. If you've stumbled, no biggie. Analyze why and start over. Maybe the resolutions weren't the problem, but our over-inflated expectations are another matter.
Frank Szivos is a freelance writer who has adjusted his New Year's resolutions and is pursuing less lofty goals. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.